This Is The Right Time to Be A Product Manager

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The Indian IT ecosystem has been on an overdrive since 1990 with the services and outsourcing sectors dominating the scene because of cost arbitrage. Owing to a maturing domestic market, increased expertise and a conducive business climate, the current decade has seen an explosion of companies focused purely on product design and development. As a result, India is fast moving from being the back office of the world to the forefront.. Established names, as well as promising start-ups, have made their presence felt in the product development arena by proving their ability to deliver great products to both local and global markets.

Needless to say, product leadership has played a big role in charting the growth of the Indian IT industry. The role of product management has been critical in this development.

With low-cost tech hubs emerging in geographies such as China and Philippines, India is slowly but surely moving from the services mind-set to develop products that and enable social transformation. We have seen a number of large multinational product companies such as Microsoft, IBM, Cisco, Google, Adobe, etc., set up development centres in India and focused on doing core product development from here. Startups-done-well such as Tally, Druva Software, Quick Heal, Flipkart, Make My Trip, FreshDesk, Zomato, etc., are just a few names who have also made a place for themselves in the product leadership ecosystem. The rise of e-commerce, m-commerce and increasing adoption of apps owing to the mobility boom have given rise to more product opportunities in the Indian market than ever before.

In fact, India’s B2B software product industry has grown 20% in USD terms and 28% in INR terms between October 30, 2014, to June 30, 2015. Clearly if you have toyed with the idea of becoming a product manager, the time is now.

The next question that may occur to you is how is a product manager valuable in this ecosystem. To put it simply, the product manager is responsible for ensuring the success of the product by maximizing business value over it’s entire lifecycle and in alignment with business goals.

Product managers need to have in-depth knowledge of the market in order to identify trends and opportunities. They do so by engaging with customers to identify and understand their problems and the related pain points. They then review these problems in relation to the company strategy, available funding, available intellectual capital and competition to develop a business strategy. The aim is to build a strong and capable product that addresses the market requirement. Once this is done, it is the product managers are responsible for the execution of this strategy too. Product Managers facilitate executive approvals, contribute in building the product and drive the product to market with the marketing and sales teams.

Whether a company is a start-up or an established multinational, ultimately, it is the Product Managers who mould customer requirements, market issues and technology trends into market offerings that trump the competition and help in revenue growth and profits.

Product Managers are part entrepreneur, part General Manager, part CEO, part process and product experts and part diplomats who can get the job done.

Today many multinational companies in India are looking at hiring product managers who help them decide what to and what not to build. India Inc. too is focused on building products to meet the needs of a global market. This job role gives an individual immense opportunity to develop as a strategist by employing critical thinking skills, leading cross functional teams, navigating challenges with diplomatic skill while ensuring collaboration and learning to make profitable trade-offs for business benefits. To our mind at least a Product Manager is undoubtedly the most valuable asset in a product company, one who best understands customers and has a direct impact on the growth of the organization.

Wasn’t it Henry Ford who said, “It is not the employer who pays the wages, he only handles the money. It is the product that pays the wages.”

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January 27, 2016

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